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The Postseason Meal: The QUINN System

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Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Quell Doubters

I had doubts about Quinn, but I wanted to believe. 31-0 to Rhode Island gave me hope that without Maynard, with Quinn's spread offense, we could still keep the momentum of UB moving forward. A frustrating loss to Baylor looks better today then it did in 2010, a 28 point loss to RG3 and Kendall Wright, I'll take it. UB was tied with UCF 10-10 going into the fourth, but lost the fourth quarter 14-0. UCF went 11-3 that year and beat Georgia.

At 1-3, UB went to Bowling Green in a game that saw 11 turnovers, 14 punts and 2 missed field goals. After falling down 13-7, Jerry Davis hit Alex Neutz, Marcus Rivers and Terrell Jackson for TD passes and a 28-13 UB lead with 20 minutes remaining. Over the next 4 BGSU drives, UB forced 3 quick punts and intercepted the BGSU QB. Instead of turning that good defense into points and putting the game away, UB punted 3 times, and threw two INTs including a pick 6. BGSU was finally then able to beat the defense, and UB's secure 28-13 lead fell to 28-26.

UB needed to kill clock or score with 7 minutes remaining, of course they did neither. UB used only four plays and burned only two and a half minutes before punting the ball back to Bowling Green. The defense bailed out the Bulls with an interception with 90 seconds remaining. Until Ike Nduka fumbled two plays later to give Bowling Green the ball in field goal range.

Bowling Green ran the ball, preparing for the game winning field goal, UB had two timeouts, but did not use them to preserve the clock. As a result Bowling Green was gifted a 40 yard kick for the win. The field goal was missed, and UB escaped with the victory.

UB no stranger to the close win, UB was 2-3 and 1-0 in the MAC. Jerry Davis played well, the defense was great, UB was going to be competitive in 2010.

Un-inspire

Any goodwill from the 2-3 start of 2010 was burned by the end of the season. UB lost 4 in a row in the teeth of their MAC schedule but had Ball State, Eastern Michigan and Akron on the end of the schedule and could realistically finish 5-7 for the second straight season.

UB was ranked 104 when they faced 120 ranked Ball State, they lost by 17.

UB was ranked 111 when they faced 128 ranked EMU, they lost by 4

UB was ranked 118 when they faced 128 ranked Akron, they lost by 8.

Both the EMU and Akron losses are tied for the lowest ranked team to defeat UB since 2006, the Ball State loss right behind those two as the 3rd lowest ranked team to beat UB. By disparity between UB's rank and their opponents rank, the Ball State loss is 9th most embarrassing, and the EMU loss is 8th. The Akron loss doesn't place as by then, we were on Akron's level, which is pretty embarrassing as Akron was 0-11 including a loss to Gardner-Webb, a team UB beat in 2009 by 37 points.

(all rankings Colley Matrix)

Immobilize

In 2011, Chazz Anderson was the talk of the UB world, was it better to plug in a good QB or develop one of our QBs for the future?

It was what I consider to be Quinn's best call as a UB head coach, 2011 immobilized UB football. We couldn't move forward, we couldn't look back, we were stuck in 2011. If Quinn couldn't win with a top QB, it was Gill's fault. If he did win with Chazz, he'd be a hero for bringing the QB in. He would have made amends for letting Maynard leave.

Quinn was able to hang his hat on the best win UB has had since 2006. A one point win over #36 Ohio was the second highest ranked team to lose to Buffalo. UB was ranked #113 at the time, the 77 spot disparity is the highest in UB history since 2006.

The season of course failed to capitalize on that momentum, finishing 3-9 and losing to #104 Miami tied for 10th lowest ranked team to beat UB. The empty cupboard philosophy was born, but it wasn't being restocked. UB went into 2011 with no idea who would be the QB.

Neuter

After a great outing against Georgia without Khalil Mack and without Fred Lee, you could see UB had some talent. Jeff Quinn proceeded to neuter the UB offense while employing Lou Tepper to neuter the UB defense.

If you remove two plays, the hail mary to Alex Neutz in the Kent game and the Neutz to Murie lateral in the UConn game, Alex Zordich went 15 for 50, 3 INTs, 0 TDs, 216 passing yards in consecutive games.

Zordich went on to start four more games including two games UB lost by less than a touchdown. Late in the season due to injury, Joe Licata went 3-1. Had Licata started against Ohio and Toledo, and UB won, Buffalo would have been 6-6 in 2012, putting UB back to bowl eligibility.

On defense, UB's corners had nine interceptions and UB had future NFLers Steven Means and Khalil Mack chasing the quarterback with 14.5 combined sacks. Nationally, UB's defense was 15th in sacks per game, 31st in yards per rush allowed, 34th in TFL per game, 36th in INTs per game, but only 68th in yards per attempt and 69th in points per game allowed.

With the talent on the defense, and their big play ability, UB should have shut opponents down in 2012. Instead, the defense was in the back half of the nation in points allowed.

In 2013, only one win was top 10 by rank, courtesy of the constantly over-rated and November adverse Ohio Bobcats. Ohio was ranked #49 when UB bested them.

The Neutering continued. In the first five games of the season, Alex Neutz caught 6.4 balls on average for 104 yards, in the final 8, Neutz caught 3.6 balls on average for 63 yards per game.

Branden Oliver, the rock of the team, saw almost no action as a lead against Bowling Green turned into a loss.

The Mack-led defense was 10th in turnovers forced, 13th in sacks per game, but 40th in points allowed per game, 67th in yards per run, 71st in yards per play and 81st in yards per pass attempt.

The culmination of four years of preparation, while a great season, was anti-climatic, and one couldn't help but wonder what could have been.

Nurture (The enemy)

Nature vs Nurture 2

In 2014 Quinn had a difficult job replace Mack, Neutz, BO and maintain the momentum of UB football. To do this, he was given a returning starter at QB, and a paper soft schedule with two FCS schools, Army and a weak MAC East slate. Quinn replaced BO with Taylor, replaced Neutz with Willoughby and found an offense that was effective enough to mask the absence of Khalil Mack.

Minus the Baylor game, UB started each game with a 14-4 lead on average and ended each with a 23-10 run. Yet, UB was only 3-4. Quinn nutured the enemy, keeping teams in the game, something seen even in 2013, where most of the blowouts occurred in the 3rd quarter.

The QUINN System

Expressed sequentially, the QUINN system tells the story of a coach who evolved but failed to improve to the always fickle standards of modern college football. I feel the QUINN system however was present in almost every FBS game played since 2010.

My doubt was Quelled, until the play, play calling and decision making became uninspiring, until all progress stopped, the team becoming immobile and many of us just wanting the game to end. Our best play makers were neutered time and time again and the opponent was nurtured and kept into the game until, 72% of the time against FBS teams, the opponent walked away victorious.

Jeff Quinn's Opus of Frustration

Dave Clawson a Youngstown native and former UB coach should have been our head coach. After UB won the MAC East against Bowling Green in 2008, Clawson was hired to put Bowling Green over the hump. Clawson was 4-1 against UB. He beat Turner Gill in 2009 with a miraculous last second TD pass. When Quinn beat Clawson in 2010, it was a cause for hope, UB had outplayed BGSU, but looking back BGSU out-coached UB. Both teams were restarting, both teams finished 2-10 in 2010, but UB has yet to beat BGSU since. In 2013, the BGSU game was for the MAC East title, and in 2014, the game eventually decided the MAC East title.

UB outplayed BGSU, but BGSU out-coached UB. It wasn't clear five games into Quinn's tenure, but it was clear 32 games into his tenure, to everyone but Danny White, and then even White's, ignorance, cowardice, naivety couldn't hide that fact 50 games into his tenure.

Learning To Love Again

Two coaches, 20 wins a piece.

Coach side by side

However, 45% of Quinn's wins came against very bad teams, and 20% against bad teams. Compared to 5% and 30% when Gill was coach. In all, UB is 20-8 when facing a team that is ranked 111 or worse when we play them. That was progress in 2006 and 2007, after losing games to FCS teams in consecutive seasons during the end of the Hofher era, now it's unsatisfying.

Against teams ranked 51-110, what I'd consider the top 75% of MAC competition, Gill was 12-15, inspiring the belief that we had about a 50/50 chance to win each week. Quinn was 5-19, killing that belief.

In 2013, Bowling Green took the lead, I poured a drink fully prepared we'd lose, and we did. I lost the sense of belief that propelled me through the 2008 Bowling Green game. I barely cared in 2014, win or lose, I just wasn't as invested as I used to be.

Lance Leipold comes in, and despite following consecutive 20-win coaches, he has no pressure. But he has one big job, make us love UB Football again.